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Sam Bennett has his first Tour de France stage victory.
Stage 10 of the 2020 Tour de France came down to a bunch sprint in Île de Ré, and Bennett was ready to capitalize on the opportunity. After a strong lead-out from Michael Morkov, Bennett launched with around 100 meters to go with Caleb Ewan right on his wheel. Ewan made up ground on Bennett’s left as the line approached, but Bennett narrowly held on to secure the victory. Peter Sagan finished behind Ewan to take third on the day.
The win is Bennett’s sixth career Grand Tour stage win but his first ever at the Tour, and it put him back into the green jersey. He now sits 21 points ahead of Sagan in the points classification.
Primoz Roglic finished safely in the peloton to maintain his position atop the general classification standings.
The early goings of stage 10 saw Michael Schär and Stefan Küng jump away to form the day’s breakaway, but the peloton kept the gap small, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Lotto-Soudal putting in work at the front.
With a little under 100 kilometers to go there was a flurry of activity with crosswinds splitting the bunch and a few riders going down in a crash as the pack was catching the two breakaway riders. Sam Bewley abandoned after the fall.
The main GC contenders and the stage favorites were safe in the front selection, however, and from there, things remained mostly together for the next hour and half. That said, it was not all smooth sailing on the run-in to the line with multiple crashes affecting some big names. Tadej Pogacar and Guillaume Martin were among those hitting the deck with around 65 kilometers to go, and Martin crashed again along with Julian Alaphilippe inside the last 20 kilometers. Despite some hectic moments in the wind, Martin rejoined the peloton.
A short-lived second attempt by Küng to get clear was reeled in and then the sprinters teams moved into position at the front. Although Sunweb had numbers coming into the last two kilometers, the team’s featured rider, Cees Bol, was a little ways back. Morkov positioned himself behind Sunweb and then delivered Bennett well into the finale, where the Irishman nabbed the win.
Bennett choked back tears in the post-race interview.
“I just want to thank everyone that’s been involved. I just want to thank the whole team and Patrick [Lefevere, team manager] for giving me this opportunity, and to everybody it took to get to here. I want to thank my wife and everyone around me,” he said after nabbing the long-awaited Tour stage win.
“You dream of it and you never think it will happen.”
Top 10, stage 10
1 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3:35:22
2 EWAN Caleb (Lotto Soudal)
3 SAGAN Peter (BORA – hansgrohe)
4 VIVIANI Elia (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
5 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo)
6 GREIPEL André (Israel Start-Up Nation)
7 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
8 BOL Cees (Team Sunweb)
9 STUYVEN Jasper (Trek – Segafredo)
10 MEZGEC Luka (Mitchelton-Scott)
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 42:15:23
2 BERNAL Egan (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:21
3 MARTIN Guillaume (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) 0:28
4 BARDET Romain (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:30
5 QUINTANA Nairo (Team Arkéa Samsic) 0:32
6 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling)
7 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:44
8 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 1:02
9 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 1:15
10 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 1:42
In other news
| Prudhomme, staff members at four Tour teams test positive for COVID-19
In the latest round of testing at the Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme and staffers from four teams tested positive for COVID-19.
One staff member each from the Ineos Grenadiers, Mitchelton-Scott, AG2R-La Mondiale, and Cofidis returned positive tests, meaning that any further positive tests for either the riders or staff of those teams will result in removal from the race.
Prudhomme, who was not actually part of the “race bubble,” will be replaced by Francois Lemarchand in the Tour lead car.
| Ackermann sprints to another stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico
Pascal Ackermann doubled up at Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday, following his stage 1 sprint win with another on stage 2.
After 201 kilometers of racing from Camaiore, the stage came down to a bunch kick, where Ackermann again topped Fernando Gaviria. Rick Zabel took third on the day. For now, Ackermann has extended his overall race lead, although a hilly third stage on Wednesday could shake up the general classification.
| Allin takes stage 6 of Tour de l’Ardeche
Pauline Allin won stage 6 of the Tour de l’Ardeche in what marked her first UCI-level win as a pro.
The 25-year-old Frenchwoman topped Heidi Franz at the line in Rochemaure after 137.9 kilometers of racing from Valréas. Alicia González finished 26 seconds later to take third.
With one stage left to race, Lauren Stephens remains atop the general classification with a 38 seconds advantage over Mavi García.
| Australian Worlds selection unveiled
Australia has named its selection for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships, which will be held in Imola, Italy, after the initial plans to hold the event in Switzerland were called off.
On the men’s side, Rohan Dennis will attempt to take his third straight world title in the time trial. A lineup of Michael Matthews, Richie Porte, Simon Clarke, Luke Durbridge, Jack Haig, Lucas Hamilton, Jai Hindley, and Damien Howson will take on the road race.
Amanda Spratt, who rode to third in the road race last year, headlines a women’s selection that also includes Grace Brown, Brodie Chapman, Lucy Kennedy, Shara Marche, Rachel Neylan, and Sarah Roy.
| Schelling handed four-month ban for ‘non-intentional anti-doping rule violation’
Patrick Schelling of Israel Start-Up Nation received a four-month ban for what the UCI called a ‘non-intentional anti-doping rule violation,’ the governing body announced Tuesday.
According to the UCI, Schelling tested positive for Terbutaline in a control on February 24 of this year. His ineligibility period started on May 18, and he will thus be able to race again on September 17.
| Coming up at the Tour
Stage 11, a mostly flat trip from Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers, looks like another good opportunity for the sprinters.
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Egan Bernal has said that he’s waiting for “the right moment” at this Tour de France. Looking ahead, there should be some of those coming up.
Today’s featured image of Sam Bennett winning stage 10 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.